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FG counters Canada, insists no Omicron COVID-19 variant in Nigeria

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The Federal Government on Monday insisted Nigeria is yet to record a case of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19, despite Canadian authorities’ claims that two passengers from Nigeria had tested positive.

Speaking at the Presidential Steering Committee briefing in Abuja, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Ifedayo Adetifa, said there was no need to give in to speculations.

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“I do not encourage citizens to waste energy on speculating,” he said. “I think what we need to do is to focus on what we actually know. And what we know, for now, is that we do not have a case in Nigeria at the moment.

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“Now, we have a pipeline of samples that are in process, whose results will be ready tomorrow; so this situation, of course, can change.”

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Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said authorities were “adopting a watchful, waiting posture.”

The Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, is believed to be highly transmissible, but it is not yet clear how deadly it is to public health.

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The World Health Organization has listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” and countries around the world are now restricting travel from southern Africa, where the new strain was first detected and taking other new precautions.

On Sunday, Canadian authorities said the country had detected its first cases of the new strain of in two people who had traveled recently to Nigeria.

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But members of the PSC said they were waiting on their Canadian counterparts for more details since there are no direct flights between Nigeria and Canada.

Meanwhile, the WHO believes the world must study the wreckage of Covid-19 and say “never again” by striking a pandemic preparedness treaty.

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Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said another disastrous pandemic was bound to happen unless countries showed the resolve to strengthen global defences.

Nations are meeting in Geneva from Monday to Wednesday to discuss an international agreement setting out how to handle the next pandemic — which

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